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Transfer Rumors: Walcott, Sturridge to Saints; Ings, Schurrle loans

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What will Southampton do with the $100 million they will receive for Virgil Van Dijk on Jan. 1?

Spend it on a ton of strikers, according to reports.

The Telegraph says that Southampton plan to move for Daniel Sturridge on loan from Liverpool, while the Daily Mirror says they also want to re-sign Theo Walcott after they sold him to the Gunners 12 years ago as a 16-year-old.

Sturridge has been in and out of Liverpool’s team with injuries and is struggling to get minutes ahead of Sadio Mane, Philippe Coutinho, Roberto Firmino and Mohamed Salah. With his place in the England squad in jeopardy for the 2018 World Cup, playing regularly in the PL could appeal to Sturridge.

Saints need offensive reinforcements, as well as defensive, but scoring goals has been a big problem for Mauricio Pellegrino‘s men throughout this season and for most of the 2016-17 campaign too. Top scorer Charlie Austin is out for two months with a hamstring injury and the duo of Manolo Gabbiadini and Shane Long are woefully out of form.

With Saints two points above the relegation zone heading into the second half of the season, scoring more goals is what they need to get themselves out of trouble and it’s no surprise they’re being linked with Walcott and Sturridge.

Would Walcott and Sturridge make the move to St Mary’s? Walcott grew up at the club, his wife is from the City of Southampton and he has always enjoyed a good relationship with Saints’ fans. He too needs regular minutes after playing in just 13 games in all competitions this season, scoring four goals. Walcott has played in just four PL games this season with Alexandre Lacazette, Olivier Giroud, Mesut Ozil, Alex Iwobi and Alexis Sanchez ahead of him.

Saints have also been linked with moves for Alfie Mawson from Swansea (also linked with West Ham), Luke Shaw from Southampton, Ryan Sessesgnon from Fulham and Cenk Tosun from Besiktas (also linked with a move to Everton).

Basically, because Southampton have a ton of cash from selling VVD to Liverpool for a world-record fee for a defender, they’re being linked with players galore.

There are plenty of rumors about loan strikers moving around and to the Premier League in January.

The Guardian believes West Ham are keen to sign Andre Schurrle on loan from Borussia Dortmund, while the Independent says that Danny Ings is wanted by Newcastle, West Brom, Stoke City and West Ham.

Ings has suffered two serious knee injuries since he joined Liverpool from Burnley in 2015 and although he is back fit and playing for Liverpool’s U-23 side over the past few months, plus had a handful of appearances off the bench for the first team, the form of Liverpool’s “Fab Four” seems likely to keep him out of the team on a regular basis.

A real fox in the box, Ings would surely be a starter for any of the four aforementioned teams wanting to sign him on loan with West Brom seeming to be his biggest admirers as Alan Pardew aims to stop their run of no wins in 18 PL games.

Schurrle, 27, has found minutes hard to come by at Dortmund and the former Chelsea winger is said to fancy a return to the Premier League.

The German international can play out wide or through the middle and in a World Cup year he will need to play regularly, and score goals, to get into Joachim Low’s squad. With Marko Arnautovic in form, Javier Hernandez now fit and the likes of Andy Carroll, Andre Ayew and Diafra Sakho around, it seems like David Moyes isn’t sure of attacking options.

Schurrle’s quality is undoubted and he did play well for Chelsea during his previous stint in the PL before being offloaded by Jose Mourinho. Now, we’re not saying that Schurrle will prove Mourinho wrong a la Mohamed Salah or Kevin De Bruyne, but he could well be the man to help the Hammers continue their resurgence.

Peru’s World Cup foes lobby to overturn Guerrero’s ban

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Following last week’s decision handed down by the Court of Arbitration for Sport, Peru captain and talisman Paolo Guerrero has been banned from the 2018 World Cup — at the age of 34, almost certainly his last opportunity to star on the world’s biggest stage.

[ PREVIEW: USMNT hosts Bolivia in shadows of World Cup hype ]

However, in the days since that decision, a number of Guerrero’s fellow professionals and World Cup stars — France and Denmark captains Hugo Lloris and Simon Kjaer, and Australia’s Mile Jedinak — have written to FIFA, on behalf of FIFPro, the world player union, in hopes of rendering Guerrero eligible to pay at next month’s tournament in Russia.

“We respectfully ask the Fifa Council to show compassion,” the trio wrote. “In our view it would be plainly wrong to exclude him from what should be a pinnacle of his career.”

[ MORE: Ronaldo hints at Real Madrid exit | Bale does the same ]

That Lloris, Kjaer and Jedinak are the players lobbying in favor of Guerrero is particularly notable given the fact that Peru will face France, Denmark and Australia in Group C.

Guerrero tested positive for cocaine late last year, after a tea he drank was tainted and triggered a fail drug test.

SKC, Crew SC play to 0-0 draw; VAR steals the show (again)

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KANSAS CITY, KAN. — The game in 100 words (or less): Nothing ruins a good game of soccer more than controversies involving the referee — and now that VAR is active within MLS, yet another failure of the video-review system to correct the most “clear and obvious” of wrong decisions. There is no longer any rhyme or reason in deciding whether or not to utilize what could be a very helpful tool. Check the third video further down this page to comprehend the absurdity of VAR in Sporting Kansas City’s 0-0 draw with Columbus Crew SC on Sunday. As for the actual soccer which was played, Tim Melia made one save to deny Gyasi Zardes with a point-blank header early in the first half, and a second to deny Zardes rom the penalty spot just before halftime. Despite being a back-and-forth affair between the league’s second- and third-place teams with a chance to take the lead in the Supporters’ Shield race, there were just six shots on target in total and genuine scoring chances were few and far between.

[ PREVIEW: USMNT hosts Bolivia in shadows of World Cup hype ]

Three moments that mattered

43′ — Zardes wins a PK, but Melia makes the save — Melia was responsible for giving away the penalty kick, and he more than made up for it by denying Zardes moments later.

45+6′ — Higuain puts studs into Espinoza, sees red — Originally not called a foul, changed to a red card following video review. On the softer side of red cards (just an opinion).

59′ — Martinez takes a swing at Sinovic, but no video review — At this point, it’s just time to disband the entire VAR experiment. It’s turned MLS into a clown show and an embarrassment. Signed, someone who was initially in favor of VAR, assuming MLS would utilize it properly.

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s MLS coverageStandings | Stats | Schedule ]

Man of the match: Tim Melia

Goalscorers: None

Rayo Vallecano win promotion back to La Liga

Photo credit: Rayo Vallecano / @RayoVallecano
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MADRID (AP) Rayo Vallecano earned promotion to Spain’s top division after beating Lugo 1-0 in a second-tier league game on Sunday.

Alex Moreno’s goal for the hosts in the 40th minute sealed Rayo’s return to La Liga after two seasons away.

Huesca had already secured promotion last weekend with a 2-0 victory at Lugo.

The third team to move up will be the winner of a two-round playoff between the four teams that finish the season from third to sixth.

Malaga, Las Palmas and Deportivo La Coruna were all relegated from the top flight this season.

FOLLOW LIVE: West leaders SKC host East’s 2nd-best Crew SC

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KANSAS CITY, KAN. — Western Conference leaders Sporting Kansas City host Columbus Crew SC, the Eastern Conference’s second-place side, at Children’s Mercy Park on Sunday with both sides capable of overtaking Atlanta United for top spot in the Supporters’ Shield race.

[ FOLLOW: SKC vs. Crew SC in top-of-the-table clash ]

Sporting KC, who are unbeaten in three straight and have lost just once since opening day (11 games), lead expansion side Los Angeles FC in the West. Meanwhile, Crew SC enter Sunday’s top-of-the-table clash unbeaten in their last six games (four wins) and trail the league leaders from Atlanta by a single point.

Hit the link above to follow along throughout the afternoon, and check back with PST for coverage after the final whistle.